Monday, August 5, 2013

Inevitable (Isaiah's Doxlogy, Part V)

"For as the earth brings forth her buds, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Is. 61:10-11

"...white unto harvest."
Truth is the foundation of love, and love is the foundation of life, but that love is not just an endless knowing, loving, and doing. There is even more bounty than that. Those who belong to God have not simply found a way of living but also an eschatology. In other words, they have been given a destination as well as a journey. The righteousness and glory given to them is going to flower. It is an inevitable fruition, just as inevitable as the earth bringing forth its fruits in their seasons, or a garden causes all planted therein to sprout in their time. So too those whom God has redeemed have become part of God's season and time.

We all go into the dark.
He has buried them in deliverance and justification like seeds in the ground. Within that dark security, there are a myriad of things happening just beyond their perception: rain to nourish them, weeding to purify and protect them. It is all leading to a great harvest, a bursting forth of flower and fruit, fragrance and food. This is not something that they hope to gain but rather what they've already been given. They have been swallowed up in salvation and righteousness have been set on one path headed in one direction: the unstoppable flowering of righteousness and glory across creation.

This is not syrupy optimism or escapism. This is the rock-solid eschatological vision of the Christian Faith, derived from the very facts and language of the Bible. Since the Fall, all of creation, from quarks to quasars, has been subjected to the meaningless futility and decay of a life separated from God, but there is a restoration coming (Rom. 8:18-22). God has called to Himself a people whom He will swallow up in justification (Is. 61:10; John 14:18-20, 17:20-23; Col. 3:3-4) so that they may flower into glory (Rom. 8:29-30), a glory that is God's (II Cor. 3:18) and which will be theirs (I John 3:2). At that moment, the whole world will fill with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Is. 11:9), and there will be no more tears or violence or darkness (Is. 60:17-21; Rev. 21:1-6). It is the inevitable conclusion and inheritance of the saints. God has spoken it, and as the rains water the earth and return a harvest, so God's word will not return empty-handed (Is. 55:10-11).

" cup runs over."
Dead in our trespasses and sins, we were sown in corruption; but by God we will be raised in glory and incorruption by His quickening, life-giving Christ (I Cor. 15:42-49; Eph. 2:1, 4-7), who is our righteousness (I Cor. 1:30), the righteousness that has swallowed us whole (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:3) so that Death might be swallowed up in victory (I Cor. 15:53-57; Is. 25:8). All roads lead to this, to this glory divine flowing from God and through His children, like a great underground spring breaking through the earth in a myriad of fountains cleansing and feeding the earth, sparkling in the sunlight like stars. So too will be our end, an end that is our beginning, the beginning of glory. It shall fill our world to the brim like a cup, and then it will overflow that brim, spilling across the universe in furious love and ravenous joy, burning away all death and darkness and destruction until every last inch of creation is reconciled back to God. And even then it will not be an end but rather real life beginning afresh and anew.

This is what causes Isaiah to sing. This is what has filled him from top to bottom with joy. This is the destination of those who belong to God, whom His love has wrapped up in salvation and righteousness like a groom or bride dressed for their wedding. That salvation shall bloom into glory, and righteousness into praise forevermore. Amen.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2013

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